October 06, 2022
Can You Use Magento As a CMS

Modern content management systems are often perceived as serving one of two purposes — either running a blog or an ecommerce website. But that is a common misconception.

Magento CMS is well known as a powerful solution for building a unique storefront and managing online stores of any size and complexity. What is often overlooked are the other benefits of Magento, which include its content management capabilities. In this Magento CMS tutorial, you will learn how to use Magento as a CMS and why Magento may be the best platform for building a strong online presence.

Can you use Magento as a CMS?

Powering more than two hundred thousand websites worldwide, Magento CMS maintains its place among the top ten most popular content management systems. When it comes to building and managing online stores and marketplaces, the Magento ecommerce platform is of prime consideration. WordPress, another popular CMS, along with the plugin WooCommerce, is probably the only open source software for ecommerce that is used more frequently.

Using Magento as a CMS vs. Magento for ecommerce

Magento has been designed to serve the requirements of ecommerce. This includes building and managing a catalog of products, processing orders, and storing customer information, among many other features. On top of that, Magento CMS is known as an open source ecommerce platform that allows for almost infinite customization.

Using various extensions and custom modules, you can create a truly unique storefront and integrate various services, including payment gateways and analytics tools. However, the power of Magento CMS is paired with its complexity, as you would often need to hire a developer or even a whole team to bring your ideas to life.

Magento page builder

With the introduction of Magento Commerce 2.3, the world was finally able to see a drag and drop content management solution added to the built-in platform’s functionality. Magento Open Source users were able to leverage the new Page Builder functionality only three years later when Adobe finally included it in Magento 2.4.3 and later versions.

Despite the fact that numerous page builder extensions existed before Magento CMS introduced its official solution, the release of Magento Open Source 2.4.3 was a huge step towards full site editing, and, ultimately, to using Magento as a full-fledged CMS solution.

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Magento 1 and Magento 2

Magento CMS has a long history, and the ecommerce platform has undergone a lot of changes to become what we know today as Magento 2. Magento 1, which is still used by thousands of store owners, reached its end of life in 2020. Magento 1 users are encouraged to move to Magento 2 which continues to grow and develop. Or, you can use a solution like Safe Harbor from Nexcess to stay on Magento 1.

Although Magento 2 can be considered a successor to Magento 1, the two platforms are totally different, which made migration from one platform to the other a rather complicated process. Content management functionality provided by Magento 1 is extremely limited, and no major updates have been released for it since its end of life. Magento 2 is the only option you should be considering for a Magento CMS.

Magento as a CMS for SEO

Magento CMS features go well beyond the high customization capabilities that make it a robust ecommerce platform. Magento is extremely SEO friendly, which is ensured by two main factors — its speed and a number of advanced SEO optimizations included. Magento CMS features include enhanced URL structure, sitemaps, meta descriptions and tags, and product rank on all major search engines, including Google.

Website performance and page load time have become one of the main ranking factors too. Thanks to numerous updates released with each new Magento CMS version, any delays in bringing content to the end user have been almost eliminated if there are no limitations imposed by the hosting provider.

Fast query processing is a major concern for all ecommerce platforms. Magento CMS ensures it by using Elasticsearch as its main search engine. Elasticsearch largely outperforms MySQL/MariaDB on ecommerce websites, providing blazing-fast speed and impeccable relevance of search results.

How to use Magento as a CMS

With unrivaled performance, effective SEO, and an extensive list of content-optimized themes and extensions, Magento CMS can be a perfect solution for both content management and ecommerce tasks. With the introduction of the 2.4.3 version, Magento has become an even more attractive option for all business owners.

Moreover, Magento CMS offers excellent options for creating responsive websites. Having content tailored to the requirements of each visitor depending on their device characteristics and personal preferences can significantly increase content engagement and build brand loyalty.

Magento content elements

From the 2.4.3 version, each Magento CMS download offers a list of features for content management, which include CMS pages, blocks, and widgets. The content elements available in the Magento CMS Page Builder are very similar to those other content management systems include as part of their built-in content editors’ functionality.

The content management menu is available from the main page of the Magento CMS dashboard. Let’s take a look at what each content element can be used for.

Magento Content Elements

Using Magento pages as a CMS vs. Magento for ecommerce

Pages are the central part of Magento content management functionality. Magento CMS pages allow you to create website content by adding essential design elements like text, images, blocks, widgets, and links. The Magento CMS pages offer all necessary features for running both an ecommerce site and creating blog content.

As you create more content, new pages will appear in the pages table along with their title, unique ID, and address. Each new Magento CMS download will have a few pages created by default, which include the default home page, a custom error page if the requested content can not be found, and pages outlining the privacy policy.

adding a new page in Magento CMS

When adding a new page, Magento CMS will ask you to provide its title and description, as well as some other information.

Editing the page title in Magento CMS

You can go straight to content editing by choosing Edit with Page Builder from the content tab.

Choose Edit with Page Builder from the content tab

The Magento CMS Page Builder offers a highly intuitive design, so you will be able to create any kind of web content in a matter of minutes, even if you have never used any drag and drop content editor before.

Magento CMS drag and drop content editor

Static blocks for content

Along with new content elements unique to each web page, you can create static blocks to then have them placed on different web pages. As the name suggests, static blocks are content elements that can present certain information that remains unchanged.

The blocks page provides very similar functionality to what Magento CMS offers for web page creation and management. After you save a new static block after having it created with Page Builder, you can then add it anywhere on the website.

Magento widgets

Magento widgets are similar to static blocks, but there is one main difference — widgets are placeholders for dynamic content. Magento CMS widgets offer a perfect way to add real-time dynamic content to your website to increase engagement and make the user experience more personalized.

You can create custom widgets, which, however, will involve some coding, or choose one of the default types of widgets Magento CMs offers. Recently Viewed Products, Catalog Products List, and Orders and Returns are the most frequently used widgets that allow you to boost sales by creating a more appealing shopping experience.

You can create custom widget in Magento CMS

Alternatives to Magento as a CMS

Even with all the benefits that Magento CMS offers, it is not always the perfect solution for every business. Choosing a content management system is a very important step in building your online presence, and all factors and specific requirements need to be taken into account.

We have to admit, Magento's native CMS capabilities may not be as advanced as those of the other leading content management systems. In this section of the Nexcess Magento CMS tutorial, we will review what alternatives you can consider and how you can integrate them with Magento to leverage amplified capabilities and create a seamless user experience.

Connecting Magento with another CMS

One of the most spectacular Magento CMS features is that you can easily integrate it with another content management system. The main reason that Adobe allows for such integrations is precisely because Magento 2 and other popular CMS platforms often complement each other as opposed to competing with each other.

Instead of having to choose between the two, you can leverage the robust ecommerce capabilities of Magento and content management features of another CMS like WordPress or Drupal. The easiest way to integrate Magento CMS with another platform is by using one of the numerous extensions.

Magento vs. WordPress

WordPress is one of the primary platform considerations for any type of business. Powering around 40% of the whole internet, WordPress serves the diverse needs of business owners by combining CMS and ecommerce features. WordPress’ focus on the frontend and ease of use make it an appealing choice for many. WooCommerce, which sometimes can be referred to as a separate ecommerce platform, is in reality more of an add-on for building and managing an online store.

Let’s take a look at what sets the two popular platforms apart and why there are no winners and losers when comparing the two.

Content ManagementWordPress’ Block Editor provides extensive functionality for full-site editing.While Magento CMS Page Builder may be overshadowed by the capabilities the WordPress Block Editor offers, it can still be considered a rather powerful and convenient solution for content management.
EcommerceWooCommerce, a WordPress plugin for ecommerce, turns the CMS into a full-fledged platform for building online stores and marketplaces.Magento is a robust ecommerce solution that employs advanced technology and ultimately provides much more powerful solutions for running an online store.
Ease of useWordPress is super beginner-friendly and does not require any coding skills to create a website in the vast majority of cases.Magento is not the best platform for beginners as the command line interface is used for performing a large number of website management tasks. Coding skills are required to leverage all customization capabilities of Magento CMS.

Magento vs. Joomla

Originally created as a platform for building portal-like websites, Joomla has become a content management system capable of running a website of almost any kind. While Joomla can be a better solution for smaller businesses, Magento remains the platform of choice for building sophisticated storefronts and running large, complex online stores.

Content ManagementJoomla offers a few content editors with different functionality. Content management is overall similar to what Magento offers.Magento Page Builder offers a rather extensive list of features for drag and drop content creation.
EcommerceYou can use numerous ecommerce extensions which can help you build an online store. But in reality, Joomla is not the best solution for ecommerce.Magento leaves Joomla far behind when it comes to ecommerce by offering a wide range of features and advanced customization options.
Ease of useJoomla stands somewhere in the middle between the two when compared to WordPress and Magento. Magento is much more complex than most other content management systems, including Joomla.

Bottom line: using Magento as a CMS

The importance of organic content for increasing engagement and building brand awareness can not be overstated, especially in ecommerce. As a powerful ecommerce platform, Magento has undergone dramatic changes over the past few years, which allowed it to become one of the leading content management systems for running an online business.

So can you use Magento as a CMS? Definitely! High customization capabilities combined with an extensive list of options for content management have allowed Magento to meet the diverse needs of business owners.

Nexcess takes pride in powering thousands of websites running on Magento, making sure small and large businesses stay online regardless of anything. Build and expand your online presence by unlocking the power of the open source ecommerce platform with Nexcess managed Magento hosting plans.

Check out our plans to get started today.

Kiki Sheldon
Kiki Sheldon

Kiki works as a Security Specialist for Liquid Web. Before joining the Abuse & Security Operations Department, she worked on the Liquid Web Managed Hosting Support Team, where she gained extensive knowledge of Linux System Administration and popular Content Management Systems (CMSs).

Kiki’s passion for writing allows her to share her professional expertise and help others. She keeps up with technology and always looks to improve her technical skills. In her free time, she enjoys reading, especially classic books and detective stories.

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